it doesn't mean for life
Xander was at one of the big plastic tables they bought at the Salvation Army with the information Phillip Grant had lent them spread out in front of him as he attempted to sort out the files. He had found a fax sitting on the top of the files from Sylvia ordering the hospital files be added to the stuff lent to Rupert Giles, as well as what she called the ring area files. The fax said not to do the usual editing, as the historical foundation he ran had extensive experience in the weird and even if the foundation didn't buy the properties they might be able to do something with them at some later date.
It hadn't taken him long to divide it up into groups. There were at least forty different properties in the aviator case, each folder had a CD index inside the folders and the CD's in each file were labelled with the file number for easy identification and refiling. The files also had an aerial photo of the property and a numbered index dividing it into sections. It was a compact way to file information on properties, Xander had to go get Andrew's laptop just to get at the information but once he did he could easily see why they had done it this way, some of these properties were so big and complex it would take an entire filing cabinet just to store the information on one. By storing most of it on CD, they could get a room of files into an aviator case.
Grant had left a note saying everything was colour coded: buff folders were properties that had only basic investigation, the green folders were those investigated more deeply, the blue those in the final running and completely checked out and the red were those labelled weird. Pink labelled CDs were a warning and referred to something weird on a particular property. A quick glance through the files showed him only one or two of the buff folders had a pink CD amongst the others. The blue folders had no pink disks and the red folders were predominantly pink label inside.
The first property contained in bright red folders and turned out to be an old mental hospital for sale the CDs were all pink labelled, the index containing an aerial photograph with a numbered overlay to mark the buildings and the corresponding files on them. Each of the other twenty-five CDs in that folder covered multiple buildings on the land. From the look of it there was everything from massive multi-level wards down to small cottages on the massive acreage that were once the hospital grounds. Even a quick glance through the CDs had Xander drooling at the possibilities, if you had the money and resources it would make a terrific investment. The buildings were derelict from the years of abandonment since the last building closed in 1989 but seventy-five percent of them were still structurally sound according to the final paper summary in the file.
He was really starting to wonder why this was labelled weird, it was the type of property you kept under wraps not just hand to someone else on a platter. The final CD had the final evaluation reports, it had him sit up and take notice, it mentioned just what a good investment it was on the surface but the reasoning for the final veto was Hellmouthy in the extreme. It listed the death statistics on the grounds, by building and cause of death, which actually got worse after the place closed. The property now seemed to attract murderers and suicides along with the occasional illicit rave that ended in massive bloodshed.
A written veto by a Gregory Morton, probably the partner Philip Grant mentioned, said, 'We don't dare buy it, it looks good on the surface but some of the buildings felt like they were sucking all your emotions and making you paranoid or suicidal the moment you enter. The seven main wards are ten times worse than the Hyperion Hotel in LA we looked at in the nineties. That's just the start of the problems out there, we didn't even try to check out the ones who had repeated wild animal attacks on the death lists, those things are not something to take chances with, which is why we couldn't do more than seventy-five percent of the structural surveys.'
The big surprise was the confirmation of the veto from Kennedy's father who claimed the cost in lives over profit would be too much, label it weird and move on.
Xander carefully set the hospital files to one side, he'd get Giles to look at them when they had time, from the statistics something was definitely nesting out there, possibly a number of different demons from the look of it. Until he read that letter from Kennedy's dad, he hadn't realised just what Kennedy having a watcher while she was a potential meant. Obviously her father knew about the supernatural, at least enough to recognise the signs of Demonic activity on a potential property and stay away from it. Eventually they would have to deal with whatever was nesting in the big wards out in that old hospital but not at the moment their own situation was too precarious. Whatever was in the big wards had obviously been there for decades and Xander would bet good money it was one of the Demon groups that feed of emotion, most of those usually didn't leave its nest once it settled, when the hospital was in use, it had a viable food supply now it had to draw victims back to its lair instead. That type of Demon needed research to identify as they all had different vulnerability, identify it wrong and all you did was end up the next victim.
The Vamp nests out there, causing the wild animal attacks were another matter, getting rid of them would not only give the girls some practice but also cut down on the death toll. The only problem Xander could see would be planning a simultaneous raid on all the buildings with Vamp nests, otherwise the missed nests would either leave and set up elsewhere or worse, set traps for the Slayers after the first few raids. Which of course meant they would need some major intel and planning before tackling the hospital at all. The girls could probably sense which buildings had nests if they got close enough but that would be useless if the Vamps sensed the Slayers at he same time. All of which meant he needed to ask Giles about the Slayer spider-sense compared to the Vamp ability to sense Slayers. If he didn't know they would have to have a talk with Deadboy about it. Buffy didn't seem to have any problem with minions sensing her so it might just be Masters and their Childer with the ability, which would be really good; knowing their range, would be even better.
The final red folders covered what was labelled the ring area. He only had to look at the aerial photo to recognise the old Catholic school they were interested in, the overlay actually covered more than just the school block it stretched out to the final ring of the shields including four properties out from that converting it to a full square of land. The numbers were extremely helpful as he sorted the CD's into groups. It was an interesting numbering; the concentring shield circles were all given a number out from the centre giving a circle number one to seven with the properties outside the ring area given an eight designation. The over lapping Triquetra circles were just used as natural-dividing lines not individually numbered. This meant the CD numbering all started with the number one to eight, followed by a division of that area number and then the building or piece of land. It was complicated but the numbered overlay made it fairly easy to work out and told you at a glance which area each of the property the CD files were talking about. The warehouse grouping was over two areas inside the fourth circle so the areas started with the number four and covered section twelve and thirteen. A quick look through those to CD's told him area four-twelve (4.12), warehouses one to eight, were completely burnt out during the firestorm. The other part of the warehouse side of the block was on a CD called four-thirteen (4.13) and it listed warehouses nine to eighteen, according to the CD they survived the fire. Smoke and water were the cause of the damage for most of that area, only two warehouses ten and eighteen actually over the rings received major damage, warehouse seventeen had slight corner damage as well but that was fixable according to the report.
The index file also listed a CD containing a geological survey for the entire area plus the ecological report and recommendations covering both. It was certainly interesting reading especially the after fire geology report from the insurance companies, which had him smirking in amusement. Up until he read that, he hadn't thought Sunnydale blindness existed in Cleveland. Reading between the lines Xander decided it was right up there with the Sunnydale sinkhole theory and a clear case of attempting to explain away Magical destruction by mundane logic. They had come to the conclusion that the stone rings were geologically unstable due to the water at the bottom of them. They went on to theorise that the entire area was subject to ground shifting due to settling and upheaval depending on the amount of water in the water cisterns at any given time. The tornado of destruction was theorised to be due to mini-earthquakes along the ring fault lines, as the stress became hazardous. The theorised stress was the massive emptying of all the water cisterns over three days in an effort to stop the firestorm that inundated the area. The sudden drop in the underground water levels all at once caused the ground around the rings to suddenly destabilise more than usual and shift causing dangerous earth tremors. The geologists recommended removal of any buildings and other vital infrastructure from over the rings leaving at least five to ten feet clearance as that was where the greatest stress occurred. Roads should be remade so they cross the rings as little as possible and the crossing joints for both the roads and other utilities be routinely checked for stress fractures and breaks plus any water and sewage pipes that cross the rings have emergency cut off valves on each side of the crossing.
Xander snorted, he doubted the settling would normally do a lot of damage and the mini-earthquakes they blamed the destruction during the fire on probably did have some basis in reality, over time it might cause some micro stress fractures in the buildings but that was easily compensated for, even in the older buildings like the school.
Morton and Grant had obviously come to that same conclusion with the recommendation to use California standards on the building refurbishment if the place was bought. They were more worried about the ecological problems and the historical listings on a lot of the buildings getting in the way of development.
Reading further, Xander chuckled as he found page after page of reports from the accountants stressing what a good buy the area was. Kennedy's father had to finally veto the place in the end with the comment that they didn't need an ecological and archaeological nightmare with enough historical buildings to sink a ship. He didn't care how cheap the damn thing was, they were building a luxury resort for the rich, not a hippie or new age commune.
Another note from Kennedy's dad addressed to both Gregory Morton and Philip Grant said, 'You two are usually better at smelling out the weird when setting up a project, that's why I hired you. Forget this place exists. Mark this area weird and move on, I know it looks damn good even I'm tempted and I know better. Those rings aren't natural and I had it carbon dated, it has them older than the pyramids on both continents making it the Stonehenge of the America's. The fact they haven't listed the thing as one of the wonders of the world can only mean it stinks of the weird, leave it and the mental hospital alone for all our sakes you would need to be weird experts to cope with either property. I'm beginning to think Cleveland might not be the best option for the resort too much of the weird turning up. I mentioned Cleveland to Kennedy's teacher who is a weird expert and the hint was it might be wise to leave Cleveland alone. Two big properties this size in the same city with this much weird attached is more than strange and tells me he probably gave good advice. It's usually only one or two building not entire areas, so I'm starting to look elsewhere maybe closer to the snowfields'.
When he had time he needed to go through these files more closely hopefully Grant and his partner actually did an in depth structural examination of the surviving school buildings. He didn't have time to go through them now they needed storage space before Monday and if they were looking at buildings today with that in mind, having a good idea of the structural integrity of the buildings before hand would be an immense help.
Moving on to the CDs containing the research on the area between the south and east churches he found major damage the three sections were called four-fourteen (4.14), four-fifteen (4.15) and four-sixteen (4.16), of the five buildings covering that area only the Masonic Temple still existed as more than rubble. The temple was mostly in section four-fifteen (4.15) so only received slight shield damage from the shields the earth tremors did most of the damage, the other four buildings straddled the shields and were totally destroyed.
The damage to the Masonic Temple was interesting from a builders point of view according to the CD it did suffer a lot of damage according to the notes. The glass roofs of the four atriums collapsed as the building wasn't designed to withstand even small earth tremors, the building also suffered extensive damage at the back of the structure on both the left and right side of the building taking out the auditoriums and ballrooms in those sections. The left side suffered more damage than the right but the damage was extensive to both sides rendering the back sections useless, it didn't help that during the earthquakes two thirds of the expensive stained glass windows shattered. The damage to the building was given temporary repairs to stop further damage from the elements after the fire, layers of fibreglass sheeting were placed over the caved in atrium roofs and sealed against the weather, fibreglass was chosen as it still let in some light but wouldn't shatter if more tremors hit. Corrugated iron sheeting was riveted and sealed into place to protect the damaged sections at the rear against the weather. The repairs were suppose to be temporary at that stage only enough to stop further deterioration of the building, the shattered windows were also sealed with the fibreglass sheeting as it let in more light than just boarding the once expensive windows up. At that stage they weren't sure if the building could be saved and the loss of life from the atriums shattering gave the building a jinxed reputation. The report went on to list what happened to the building in the years following the fire.
The temporary repairs made it useable while they waited for the final insurance report and recommendations, over the next two years they strengthened the remaining walls against further earth tremors as specified by the insurance company but didn't replace the atrium ceilings or broken windows. Two years after the fire they were still arguing whether it was worth repairing the building or rebuilding elsewhere instead when the geological report came out, it was finally decided not to repair the building any further. Land had already been donated in a more stable area and a newer grander temple began construction, using the rest of the insurance payout from the old building and donations. During the last few years of the seventies and the first two of the eighties the damaged temple was stripped of everything useable for the new temple, the more decorative wall panelling and ceiling inserts were removed and put into the new temple. Next the expensive light fittings were removed and replaced with cheap light sockets for the workers to still see by. The final blow to the building was the removal of the remaining stained glass windows replaced by more fibreglass sheeting to seal them against the weather and the final transfer of all the furnishings and carpets to the new building. By 1984 the building was barely recognisable, as it had been reduced to a gutted raggedness that made it both dreary and depressing due to the starkness of the once ornate rooms. The digital photos on the CD confirmed it, as Grant had included old historical photos from before the fire and after photos of what it was like now. Cheap plasterboard and florescent lighting had replaced the ornate walls, ceilings and light fittings. Reducing the rooms from individual works of art to functional starkness and a depressing sameness.
Xander found the structural survey of the old temple the most interesting as it was basically sound quite capable of surviving more of the mini earthquakes with minimum damage especially the central four story core section between the two central atriums, the two, three story sections that came next were stable the right one more than the left and had already been reinforced after the fire, the most damage had been to the outer sections of the building, these two story sections holding the auditoriums and function rooms both received major damage to their rear from the shields and earthquakes, even so it wasn't too bad the temporary repairs and reinforcement to the undamaged section made thirty years before were still holding despite their original temporary nature. Grant and Morton had even gone so far as to find the old architectural drawings and reworked blueprints made when the temple were thinking of repairing the structure back in the seventies. Xander found them in the blueprint container Grant had given them with the aviator case. They had added notes to the old blueprints from the seventies to make them able to meet California earthquake standards using newer materials and extra structural support for the new atrium roofs.
Reading the structural and other information on the temple and the other four properties covering that section Xander felt probability stirring telling him he or someone near him would eventually buy the temple and the rest of the land for some special use, his gift wasn't telling him when it would be bought just that it would eventually be purchased.
Shaking his head at the vagueness if his gift, Xander picked up the CDs for the buildings between the south and west corner churches. The south church or five-ten (5.10) as the numbering called it wasn't a church any longer it was now a private pre-school owned by the same grade school which took up half the space between the south and west corners in section four-seven (4.7). The grade school had originally been the Convent attached to the old school and built at the same time as the original central school buildings which explained the central courtyards in the building design the same architect who designed the school did the Convent buildings. The old buildings actually faired reasonably well only one of the three building making up the school, suffered irreparable damage, so the school had very little closure time after the fire. The building closest to the south corner lost its entire right front but the school had simply knocked the damage section down extending the central courtyard of the building out into that area. The Grade school rarely used these buildings now, which was why they were for sale. After the fire they purchased all of area five-nine (5.9) fairly cheaply and built a new school on more stable ground. The Convent buildings had become the admin block; the buildings were finally closed once the new modern admin blinding in the new grounds finished completion in 2002.
The structural report on the three buildings of the old convent listed them as structurally sound until two years ago. They were solid brick and stone with slate roofs, extra steel reinforcement added after the fire and earth tremors. The three buildings would give the new Council a tremendous amount of storage inside the shields if they decided to by it. Moving onto the next property it again straddled a shield so was reduced to rubble the final building before the west church took up a lot of area four-eight (4.8) after reading the reports on the CD, Xander suddenly sat up straight no longer just browsing the files in curiosity.
Area four-eight (4.8) was actually the old public library for the area; the shields had clipped the front of the building on the left side causing some structural damage. The sectional division of the building itself avoided more massive destruction. It had been built in six different sections as the library expanded, the first three parts were built at the beginning of the twentieth century and had been a church until World War II, when the old crypts were emptied due to water contamination. The City Council had purchased the land and building and converted it into a library refurbishing the old underground crypts into fire and water-resistant vaults. The three oldest sections that made up the old church were the back of the library, they suffered some structural damage mainly due to water damage and roof destruction, the damaged roofs were sealed against the elements but not mended in the strict sense of the word, it was cheaper to put a second roof over the old slate shingles. The three sections at the front were all new and hadn't faired as well the left front building close to the west church was demolished as it was built over a ring, and the glass decorative foyer at the middle front shattered and collapsed like a stack of cards when it lost the support of the left building. The right front building also received slight damage from the collapsing middle section but the integrity of the building remained sound the damage mostly cosmetic. After the fire the library contents had been salvaged from the damaged sections but because of the smoke and water damage to the books and historical contents the old library library was closed and the collection spread amongst the rest of the libraries in Cleveland.
The city council had been trying to sell the building for the last twenty years, as they had no intention of reopening it as a library again, at present it was being used as a storehouse for the City Council's non-vital records. The premises could be vacated within a month of purchase as the City council had many other properties they could store the records in. The underground vaults in five of the sections were still intact, only the basement vaults and secure rooms in the demolished section lost some integrity, even the ones under the glass foyer were intact. Looking at the price for the library block Xander grimaced, technically it wasn't a lot of money for what was being offered the archival vaults alone were worth that amount. The city council was really only asking the base cost of what was available in the buildings they wouldn't even be making a profit on the deal. Still it was more than he thought they could dig up without making a dent in Faith's money. Grimacing at his own optimism he grabbed the library, grade school files and temple and surviving warehouse CDs and took Andrew's laptop into show them to Giles. They needed to at least look at these properties with the others this afternoon, and Giles might be able weed down the number of warehouses to look at. In Xander's opinion, the old library should be the first on their look see list, on paper it looked more suitable as long term security for the supernatural stuff being shipped from the English Watcher vaults. It also had the extra bonus of being an old church before being coverted to a library so was still technically holy ground which would make any anti Demon warding they installed stronger.
"Here, Giles, look at these, if they not on our visit list please get them on it, you should be able to eliminate some of the warehouse for the information on these as well. While you do that I'll go see about making us lunch as Andrew and Faith aren't back yet," said Xander setting up the laptop and showing him how to move through the files on the CD's before heading for the coffee shop kitchen. He stopped on the way to put Giles' kettle on for him, knowing he'd rather have tea than cordial. Once in the coffee shop he could see he needn't have bothered, Buffy, Willow and Kennedy were back with the groceries and Andrew's helpers were busy making big plates of sandwiches using the bread and cold meats they brought back.
"Don't worry, we brought enough bread for the sandwiches now and toast for breakfast, we even got some dinner rolls to go with dinner." grinned Willow when she saw Xander wince at the rapidly emptying bread bags. "When I saw how much we spent on just a day's bread I thought it might end up cheaper if we look into making our own bread when we move into the school."
"I'll put it on the list to check into," said Xander thoughtfully, grabbing a tray and piling cut sandwiches onto plates for Giles and himself. "I think these type of problems are like ordering building supplies sometimes it's cheaper in the long run to buy something ready made from another company and just install it or even contracting a job out, often doing it yourself from scratch costs more. I think, in this case, it all depends on how much the raw ingredients and other costs involved come to. Once we have that we can start canvassing the bakers of for comparative pricing and or bulk discounts for a school, it would be a waste of time and effort if a baker ends up cheaper. Another thing to take into consideration is that we'll need an industrial mixer for the dough, one of my many jobs before I went into construction was hefting bags of flour for old man Petersen in his bakery. No way would I even think of making the amount of bread we'll use daily without at least an industrial mixer," he stated with a shudder, putting the plates on a tray along with glass of cold cordial for himself. Once he had the tray loaded he headed back to Giles.
Giles was on the phone when he got back it looked like he was talking to the estate agent, so Xander just put the tray on the desk and went out to make Giles a pot of tea. When he got back he got himself a plastic chair and they discussed the various pro's and cons of the properties and what to look at during the inspections while they ate lunch.
"If this library is as good as the file says it is, we will have to put it on our eventual purchase list. We will need secure vaults for the more dangerous and priceless artifacts and books being shipped. Which is why I have been reluctant to commit to a warehouse until closer to the arrival date of the cargo ships. I thought an old bank might suit our needs better than a simple warehouse but finding one might take time and waiting until then would give us a few months to search for that type of storage," explained Giles.
"If the library isn't suitable we might find something like that amongst the rest of the CDs for the shield area. Meanwhile from the look of these the old convent turned grade school and the temple might be our best bet for storage until we find finance for the library or anything else suitable if that falls through."
"Looking at these files I agree, while the warehouses do look good and are quite large especially warehouses thirteen and fourteen, would be a problem surrounded by the other warehouses. The library, grade school and temple are all self contained and would give more privacy to install the stronger wards."
"They're also big enough to add some living quarters for on site security, once the collection arrives. Renovating the school once it's bought probably won't happen immediately so the option of extra living space will be helpful. I have a feeling money will be too tight to add renovating costs on top of digging up the purchase money for the school. Buying the school isn't something we can put of indefinitely if you're right about the power starting to attract Mages by winter once it's bought we can take our time renovating."
"I know, it is on the list of purchases but we do still have four or five months before it builds that type of power," said Giles tiredly.
Xander hid a frown, Giles looked totally despondent when he said that, it looked like getting access to the Watcher funds was encountering a lot of set backs. He might have to start looking at alternative funding from somewhere, pity he couldn't head for Las Vegas until next year.
"Maybe we should just forget about any of these buildings and purchase the school, it would give us the needed storage. More permanent storage can come later," offered Xander.
"Frankly, Xander, the school is impossible at the present, so is the library. I want to inspect the library as a future purchase. We might be able to obtain the funds for its purchase closer to the collection arriving. At that stage the insurance companies will be panicking and leaning on the banks to obtain appropriate secure premises. My idea if the library proved suitably securable was to forward the information to the insurance company in charge of the collection and let them fight it out with the bank," he said holding the bridge of his nose. "The grade school or temple is possible but we will probably have to borrow most of the funds from Faith at this stage."
"Giles, I think we need a estimate on when the Council funds will be available," said Xander seriously. "Faith's the only one with big money at the moment and it's not going to last long if she has to finance everything?"
"Frankly, it's a nightmare, the more hidden aspects of the Council are not part of the banks information so they are naturally leery of anything to do with the girls. The Historical side of the Council will eventually force the banks to cough up the funds so to speak, maintaining the collection is just one of the daily costs the bank will be forced to respond to as the insurance companies will hold the banks responsible otherwise. That I fear is the easy part of the mess to clear up. Time itself will be against the banks in such a case. The Potential's now Slayers who were under the Council's guardianship will eventually be covered as well; legally the Council is responsible for their well being. I am already receiving a small temporary stipend for each of those surviving girls, which is feeding all of us at present. The Potential Slayers who were still under their parents control, like Kennedy and a few others are not on the Council guardianship books so are not covered by the Council guardianship and we are unlikely to receive money for them or any of the new Slayers who will arrive until I gain control and can restructure the finances to include them. Another problem we are facing is that Council families routinely listed the Council as guardians of estates and minor children if the adults in a family were killed. Any of these dependents are now under the Councils control as well. All of which is another legal nightmare in the making. I have had at least five faxes from lawyers informing me as the defacto head of the Council of estates under probate and the eventual legal turnover of the children to my care. Eleven children are scheduled to arrive from just those five faxes. By my estimate I shall be getting more of them in the next few months as the legalities are sorted out."
"Shit! We need that school or at least more living space until we get the school, didn't at least one of the parents survive, or Aunts and Uncles?" exclaimed Xander shocked.
"Unfortunately, it was not unusual for both parents and their siblings to be active or inactive Watchers, many of the older families routinely sent the children to boarding schools or had a nanny while both parents worked at the Council Headquarters. It might have made them poor parents but the separation worked for the children's survival as they were away from their parents and the Bringers didn't bother with the children unless they were Slayer potential's."
"Damn!" said Xander sitting down as he realised just what had Giles so tired and frustrated.
"Yes! That is an understatement of the situation if you have any suggestions of how to get the banks to, allocate us money, I would appreciate it. Everything I've tried has fallen on deaf ears, which is why I am leaving the insurance company to fight it out with the bank over the Collections future premises." Said Giles dryly.
"Okay let's look at this logically, you said the banks are coughing up money to look after the surviving girls under the Council's guardianship, how many are we looking at exactly?" asked Xander.
"Only fourteen of the girls are Council wards," said Giles confused.
"That's good, actually that's damn good. That means we have fourteen teenage girls on the books, for financial responsibility. We add the eleven kids, soon to arrive and a basic estimate of how many more in a few months. I think we have something to throw at the bank. Does the bank know we bought the shops?" he demanded.
"No, the Hellmouth shop was a private purchase using the Magic Box insurance money not a Council acquisitions it is in mine and your name. The other two shops are yours and have nothing to do with the Council. I haven't even informed the banks of our change of address only of the change of telephone and fax numbers. Without the hotel we may lose the rental allowances for the girls under guardianship," he explained with a grimace. "I have been fudging the accommodation and expenses quite a bit, they paid for nine of the rooms at the hotel, seven of them for the fourteen girls one for myself and one for Buffy and Willow who I listed as Nanny-Chaperones as I am male. I was able to do that only because Buffy was employed as a school councillor and Willow was doing phycology courses at University and had previous teaching experience. The banks have been paying two wages for Buffy and Willow at that pay scale which I have been also using to keep us in food and other essentials since we arrived in Cleveland. I am still working on getting back pay and rent for the time in Sunnydale but that might take time."
"Since it is just going to be on paper give them the left and right Apartments as the girls new address, charge from today. They are in my name if they check ownership, so list me as the landlord. That hotel had a bad rep before the new owners took over so that should pass muster as a reason for moving to safer accommodation. Work out a decent rental to charge them for two five-bedroom apartments, charge more for the left as it has the second bathroom. Next charge purchase of seventeen single second hand beds and bedding, we can always mock up a receipt for them and the bedding, a used furniture place should be able to give a quote on what a second hand bed costs." said Xander with a diabolical grin.
"Good Grief! Xander, that might be a bit much." Objected Giles.
"No, it isn't, if Sylvia hadn't got those beds for us we'd be sleeping on the ground as far as the bank is concerned. We charge the bank for the beds we can use that money to live on. Don't forget we have more Slayers coming which means more food and other things."
"Willow and Buffy can be listed in charge of the girls an apartment each the small rooms can be listed as their bedrooms, accommodation is part of their wage that keeps them on the books as employees in charge of the girls. On paper you'll be in the attic in the left building as it has a separate bathroom for yourself. That reminds me if you listed Buffy and Willow as employees they are going to end up paying tax, so check that out. Find out if the bank has taken that into account or if you need to start taking it out before tax time."
"Oh! Dear God! I hadn't thought of that!" Giles moaned.
"If they ask about the middle apartment the landlord Alexander LaVelle Harris and family live there. Next, you might want to start charging for Andrew as a computer expert, consultant rates only as needed for the moment like when he talked to the expert in England, plus the cost of the network he bought for the Council. When the hard drives from the network turn up, put Andrew down as a full time employee, put the middle apartment down as his address, say he's renting the middle attic if you need an address for him. Have I forgotten anything?"
'The eleven children we can expect in a month." Said Giles dryly.
"Send everything I mentioned off today, before we leave then just before they close as England is behind send the bank a panicking fax about eleven more children due to arrive in a month and the need for bigger accommodation. By then we will know which property we are buying so we'll send the info on that off and demand the money. I can probably do rough renovation estimate to make what ever property we chose livable."
Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.
Giles lifted the phone to his ear and suddenly winced. "Xander, for you. Willow babble, I have some hope of deciphering. Andrew babble is another matter entirely." He said dryly, holding out the phone as if it was crawling with insects.
"Andrew? No! It's Xander."
"Slow down, start again, all I got was you won something and you you're afraid of mugging. Where's Faith?"
"Woe slow down, start from the beginning. You and Faith went to the bank!" he prompted as if talking to a child.
"That's nice! I'm glad the insurance on your Star Wars collection turned up. I'll check mine later. Okay you and Faith did her banking and you got some money out from your Star Wars money at the same time. What did you and Faith do next?"
"You went to look at the office furniture place and got the stuff you need for the network. It's being delivered at five thirty tonight after the place closes. That's good! Where next, Andrew?"
"Faith's Chevy. Did you get one?"
"Okay so that's why Faith isn't with you, she stayed to do the paperwork on her truck and you drove the sedan to the restaurant supply house for your stockpot. Did you get the Stockpot?" he prompted curiously.
"That's great Andrew and a catalogue as well, that was smart. What did you do next?" he asked seriously he could tell they were getting close to the reason for the babble.
"No! I don't mind that you went to look at the X-men comics in the place next to the restaurant supply, you know I like X-men. Andrew, don't tell me what happened in the comics save it for tonight when we go to bed. Tell me why you were panicking about getting mugged?"
"Okay put the newsagent on!" he ordered trying to rub the beginnings of a headache away, he didn't expect this when he mentioned the restaurant supply house, he wished his gift gave more information occasionally.
"How much did he win and what does he need to do to claim it?" he got directly to the point once the newsagent got on the phone. Grabbing a pen and sheet of paper to start writing the info down.
"Thanks! Yeah, he is excitable, isn't he? You can't blame him really it's a lot of money. So what will he need to prove his identity?" he continued, writing that down as well. "Thanks you've been a big help. Can you put him back on."
"Yeah Andrew, I have the information, put the scratch ticket in a inside pocket so it won't get lost or stolen, pick up the stockpot and go to the sedan and drive back to the shops, don’t speed," he said quickly. "If you feel safer lock all the windows and doors of the sedan once you get in."
"No the guy said you need to make an appointment and have all your identity stuff in order. I'm going to ring now for the appointment if you can't do it today we'll lock it up somewhere and you can put a lock spell on whatever so it can't be stolen. So pick up the stockpot and get back here." He ordered hanging up.
"I take it he won something on one of those infernal scratch money things?" said Giles dryly.
"Oh yeah! He won all right! A five dollar scratch that has a top payout of a thousand dollars a week for life. He scratched the big one; the agent confirmed the win and the amount. It isn't really life as it cuts out when his total winnings reach one point five million but that’s just under thirty years from now." explained Xander with a shake of his head.
"Bloody hell, you must be joking!" exclaimed Giles shocked at the spectacular win.
"Nope! He won all right. As you can guess Andrew's alternately screeching like a banshee one minute to whimpering with rampant paranoia about mugging the next. Can you call this number and get an appointment so he can claim it, preferably today for our sanity. I don't think we want to deal with him all weekend if he has to wait. We can send Robin and a Slayer with him. Robin to get the paperwork right and a Slayer to calm his rising paranoia about being mugged before he claims it."
"What will you be doing?" asked Giles puzzled that Xander wasn't making the call himself
going upstairs to get something for this
Andrew was screeching in my ear he was so excited," said Xander with a
wince heading upstairs to the small bedroom they moved all the medical